[IF Comp 2019] Out, by Viktor Sobol

There’s by a now a subgenre of games that are built around a single verb, with the most famous example probably being Chandler Groover’s Eat Me, in which all you basically ever do is... eat. Out belongs squarely to this group of games. You can finish it by typing nothing but “out” all the time, the standard parser command for leaving the room, container or vehicle you are currently in.

Major spoilers follow. If you don't want to be spoiled, go and play the game: it is extremely short and certainly worth playing.

So there you are, and you type "out". The first time, this means getting out of your room. The second time -- and of course the player is suspecting something like this -- it means owning up to your homosexuality in front of your mother. Subverting all our expectations, this scene is handled as lightly as possible. No big deal is made of it. But a great weight has been lifted from the protagonist’s soul – and the rest of the game can be read as a metaphorical journey illustrating his or her feelings of relief.

"Out" then takes us outside the house; outside town; and then, in a further unexpected but delightful twist, further and further into space! Without being heavy-handed, Out touches on the spiritual feeling of being a mere detail in an incomprehensible vastness. There’s all of this, this entire cosmos, the game seems to tell us; how could you then get hung up over something as small as someone’s sexual preferences, something as provincial as a set of societal norms?

Tiny, but very well done.

Comments

  1. Thanks again for your reviews.

    -- Sobol

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